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£800,000 from EU to support Hastings fisheries

Hastings Borough Council has secured £800,000 of EU funding to support applications for fisheries-related projects made through FLAG – the Fisheries Local Action Group. Although the UK is moving closer to Brexit, there is still opportunity to apply for further EU monies. Nick Terdre reports.

Ring-fenced grants worth a total £800,000 have been secured by HBC from the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for eight applications forwarded through Hastings Flag, which supports commercial fishing in the town through community-led local development, the council reports.

The funding was welcomed by Cllr Kim Forward, the portfolio holder for regeneration. “I am very pleased at the continuing success of the Hastings FLAG which enables support of a thousand-year-old community industry through innovative 21st century projects,” she said. “These are helping to ensure its sustainability and place at the heart of our town.”

One project treated as a priority by the EMFF is the Hastings Fish Brand, which has gained 100% funding. The brand, which will promote local, sustainably caught fish, is due to be launched at this year’s Seafood and Wine Festival which takes place on the Stade on the weekend of 15 and 16 September.

The Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society have been given an 80% grant for a mini digger for trench digging to move boats up and down the beach, while the council has received a 75% grant for replacement vehicle barriers to restrict access to the working beach to essential users and keep the winch road safe for the public and fleet.

Other projects are:

  • New bespoke ice flakers for Hastings fish market; this is an 80% grant, the other 20% being covered by the Foreshore Trust;
  • Supporting Sustainable Sepia Stocks: a research project by Sussex Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority into the life cycles of cuttlefish to throw light on egg survival rates and increased sustainability. This project receives 100% funding as it is innovative and a number of stakeholders, including fishermen and scientists, will benefit from the results;
  • The Aspiring Chef’s Academy run by Education Futures Trust and based in the Classroom on the Coast receives 75% funding towards long-term courses in fish cookery and the industry for secondary school students. Students will be showcasing their skills in a pop-up restaurant in Stade Hall on Tuesdays during term time between 12 and 2pm.
  • HASTINGS FISH POSTER promo 300Two individual fishermen receive funding for health and safety improvements to their boats and a further five have been awarded grants through the core EMFF programme.

All applications are assessed and put forward through the Flag board which consists of representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors as well as the fishing industry.

Expressions of interest for projects costing up to £100,000 can be submitted until the end of September; funding of 50 to 100% is available. Flag can be contacted by email or through its website.

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Posted 12:58 Thursday, Jul 12, 2018 In: Fishing

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